Profil International, 2010, 188 pages
15-pages long excerpt in English
complete German, French, Danish and Italian translation
International rights: Zsolnay Verlag/Deuticke Verlag, Annette Lechner, Annette.Lechner@zsolnay.at
US and UK rights: Corto Literary
Translation rights sold: Germany (Hanser), France (Acte Sud), Denmark (Tiderne Skifter), Hungary (Libri), Czech (Paseka), Slovenia (Modrijan), Serbia (Rende), Macedonia (Magor), Turkey (Aylak Adam), USA (Seven Stories Press), Italy (Sellerio Editore)
Ivana Bodrožić describes the banality of war. Her debut novel is the deeply unsettling story of a young girl growing up in times of conflict who nevertheless clings to hope and courage throughout.
The girl is nine years old when she is sent to the seaside in the summer of 1991 – but the holiday turns into a timely escape, because war breaks out in her hometown of Vukovar while she’s away. And her father has disappeared without trace…
The voice of the young narrator is deft and engaging as she unfolds the story of the life that follows in a refugee camp that was formerly an elite public school. She will spend the next six years of her life there, cooped up in a single tiny room with her mother and brother. Their living quarters might be cramped, and each of the exiles in the camp has suffered their own trauma, but at least there’s always company and life is never dull. Here the girl makes new friends and lives through the vicissitudes of puberty – from her first visit to the disco and her first kiss to her first drink and the inevitable hangover. She also has to contend with the worries of her mother, a woman who never allows her proud standards to slip, as well as her brother’s rage as he relentlessly petitions the president. And every day she hopes to hear someone bring her the news that she so longs to hear – that her father is still alive.
Hotel Tito is a formidable document of self-assertion – humorous, adroit and without the slightest trace of false sentimentality. Seen through this young girl’s eyes, the harsh reality of war appears in a completely different light.